Gizmodo Reading Room: FictionS

Daemon and Freedom™

by Daniel Suarez
Daniel Suarez has earned not one, but two spots in our reading room. These techno-thrillers not only use every bit of jargon from the hacker's cookbook, and a fair amount of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson in to boot, they also feature deadly autonomous motorcycles with spinning katanas instead of handlebars. A worst-case-scenario tale of computer takeover, Daemon was one of the most talked about high-tech thrillers in recent times, but it ended with a cliffhanger. Thankfully, its sequel, Freedom™, is just hitting stores. [Daemon: Amazon; Kindle; Barnes and Noble Freedom™: Amazon; Kindle; Barnes and Noble]

The Magicians

by Lev Grossman
Lev Grossman's The Magicians has been described as a grown-up version of Harry Potter, or "something like" The Chronicles of Narnia, but the truth is, it's more intimately related to them than that, and it's altogether different—and equally worthy—at the same time. If you don't know those literary landmarks, you might get lost in Grossman's beautiful story of adolescent frustration, which deftly shows off what it really feels like when the worlds of magic and mundanity collide. Possibly one of the most underrated novels of the year. [Amazon; Kindle; Barnes and Noble; Nook]

The Eight

by Katherine Neville
When I'm asked to describe Katherine Neville's The Eight, I tend to say that it's what Dan Brown would've written if he were as good as Umberto Eco. It's a book full of puzzles, mysteries, and conspiracies, in other words, all the things that make a tale difficult to put down, even as it jumps between 1790 and present day. (Neville also wrote a follow up to The Eight, called The Fire, which is good, but doesn't live up to the thrills of the first book.) [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

by Haruki Murakami
This is a crazy book that may require more than one reading to completely wrap your mind around the alternating storylines, but it's quite brilliant and might vaguely remind you of Kafka's The Castle. [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

Palimpsest

by Catherynne Valente
A friend of Danny Allen recommended Catherynne Valente's Palimpsest with such enthusiasm that Allen immediately passed the recommendation on to us. From what I've heard about it, it's poetic, sensual, and completely magical which makes it worth a glance for a lazy weekend. [Amazon; Kindle; Barnes and Noble]

Icelander

by Dustin Long
Invisible Icelandic ninjas. That's all I needed to hear about this book. It doesn't matter to me whether it's "only marginally geeky" or one of Dan Nosowitz's favorite books ever, it's got invisible Icelandic ninjas. That alone make this seem like one of the coolest books around. [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

A Spy in the Ointment

by Donald E. Westlake
Dan Nosowitz describes this book as heavy on the James Bond-style gadgetry. It's an early book (circa 1966) from the lamented master of comic crime novels, Donald E. Westlake—and it's about as long as a typical James Bond novel, which is to say it toes the line of being a novella. Hilarious, topical (well, in the mid-60s), and a breezy page-turner, A Spy in the Ointment is one of those stories of a man thrown into the world of international espionage, despite being totally ill-equipped. Great fun. [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

McSweeney's Issue 15

by Various Writers
Dan Nosowitz recommended this collection because of an awesome short story called "A Precursor of the Cinema," about a fictional technology that makes paintings appear to move. The rest of the short stories in this issue aren't bad either, so it's definitely worth a read. [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera is among my most beloved writers and while he's got many amazing books such asThe Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Laughable Loves, my favorite is still The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It's a book which will will make you think about the way in which we try to find meaning in our lives, and whether there is even any meaning to be found. It's one of the very few novels I've ever thought of as a "must read," not only because of its content, but because of Kundera's writing style. Give it a try on a long weekend and come yell at me on the off-chance that you don't like it. [Amazon; Barnes and Noble]

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